Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, celebrated the annual Chrism Mass at Westminster Cathedral on Tuesday 7th April 2009 in the presence of over 300 priests and around 1000 people from the Diocese of Westminster.
The Chrism Mass sees the blessing of the three Holy Oils; the Oil of Catechumens, the Oil of the Blessing of the Sick and the Oil of Chrism. These are used during the sacraments. The blessing of the Holy Oils is one of the most ancient ceremonies in the Church. It is always celebrated in the Cathedral by the bishop surrounded by the priests, deacons, religious and lay people from his diocese.
Celebrating the Mass as Archbishop Emeritus and Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor thanked the bishops, priests, deacons and people of the Diocese saying: “ I want to thank you for your faithfulness and loyalty during these years, which has never been in doubt in my mind. I know you will give the new Archbishop, Vincent Nicholas, the same kind of faithfulness and loyalty that you have given to me.”
At the Chrism Mass, each year, all priests renew their commitment to priestly service. Speaking to the priests the Cardinal said: “Continue to be brave in upholding the Good News of the Gospel, but as priests, try to imitate the Good Shepherd who looks after his sheep. Perhaps, above all, as a ‘good shepherd’, I ask you to be kind to everyone.”
He also asked the congregation for forgiveness: “I ask you to forgive any ways in which I have failed to live up to be a good shepherd during my years as Archbishop of this great Diocese, and for any ways in which I have offended anyone or have not supported or sustained you as much as I should have done during these times.”
At the end of the Mass Senior Auxiliary Bishop George Stack paid tribute to the Cardinal : “The presence of so many of us in the Cathedral today is a bitter sweet occasion. It is the last time the Cardinal will be gathered in this environment with priest, bishops and people of the Diocese. This Mass, a renewal of our commitment to Christ is personified in the ministry of Cardinal Murphy- O’Connor. 53 years a priest, 32 years a bishop, nine years and Archbishop; he personifies the commitment to the ‘Gaudium et Spes’, the hope and joy of his motto. I’d like, on behalf of the Diocese, to wish him joy and hope in the years to come supported by our gratitude and prayers.”
Many people attending the Chrism Mass were able to obtain a Plenary Indulgence. The requisite conditions of receiving the Indulgence were sacramental Confession, Eucharistic Communion, prayers for the intentions of the Holy Father and the resolution to live a sincere conversion of life.
You can listen or read the Cardinal's homily in full by clicking on the audio link beneath the picture. You can also see pictures from the Mass by visiting our photo gallery.